Improving patient safety a real positive change

Archived Release

Improving patient safety a real positive change

Ministry of Health

New Patient Safety initiative a Canadian first TORONTO, March 1 - Health and Long-Term Care Minister George Smitherman, with the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA), today announced Canada's first-ever province-wide Patient Safety Support Service, to improve the safety and quality of health care for Ontarians. "Our people's health is our most precious resource. Our health providers and government share a responsibility to care for people in times of need and protect them from harm," said Smitherman. "This ground-breaking initiative will better protect people by reducing errors, infections and patient falls in hospitals." "Our top priority is that people feel confident and safe when they walk into any Ontario hospital," said OHA Board Chair Tony Dagnone. "We encourage Ontario hospitals to give top priority to patient safety measures across their spectrum of services. We welcome today's announcement as it signals the importance of patient safety in Ontario hospitals." The OHA Patient Safety Support Service will provide Ontario's hospitals with tools and information to strengthen patient safety. The service will provide hospitals with onsite assistance to improve patient safety practices, and education and training for front-line staff, and support research and information-sharing among hospitals including an interactive web site and newsletter. The OHA will also develop a specialized public website to inform consumers about important safety issues. "The OHA is very pleased to be a part of this initiative," said Hilary Short, OHA President and CEO. "Today's announcement builds on our efforts to improve patient safety and create an environment of openness in reporting, as well as continuing education and improvement when it comes to making Ontario hospitals even more accountable to the public." "Our government and Ontario hospitals are working together to build a health care system that's accountable for outcomes and committed to quality patient care," said Smitherman. "Co-operative efforts like the Patient Safety Support Service will lead to better care for the people of Ontario." This news release is available on our website at: http://www.health.gov.on.ca Version fran├žaise disponible Backgrounder ------------------------------------------------------------------------- PATIENT SAFETY A GOVERNMENT PRIORITY Ontario has an excellent health care system that delivers safe, high quality care to Ontarians every day. The government is working with health care providers and experts in the patient safety field to create innovative programs to reduce medical errors and patient safety risks. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) is establishing the OHA Patient Safety Support Service, which will ensure that safe practices are used in hospitals on a routine basis. This ground-breaking initiative is another innovative step, along with the Safe Medication Support Service, that the government has taken toward making our hospitals as safe as possible for the people of Ontario. OHA Patient Safety Support Service The OHA Patient Safety Support Service is the first program of its kind in Canada. It has been established to raise awareness among hospital management and front-line staff about patient safety and to give them tools and knowledge to improve patient safety within hospitals. This service includes: - On-site assistance to identify systems and procedures which might impede the delivery of safe care, and to recommend changes to improve patient safety; - Education and training sessions for front-line hospital staff; and - Tools and information to promote patient safety, such as websites and self-assessment tools on topics including how to investigate adverse events and effective patient safety practices. The service will also develop a special public website to give consumers advice about how to protect their safety. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is providing $1.4 million to support this two-year initiative. Safe Medication Support Service Ontario also provides an innovative service to promote medication safety in Ontario hospitals. Working with the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) Canada, the Ontario government has put in place Canada's first Safe Medication Support Service to help hospitals establish safe drug management processes. In operation since October 2002, this service is reducing medication-related risks in Ontario hospitals. The Safe Medication Support Service's first project was aimed at promoting the safe use of concentrated potassium chloride in hospitals. Seventy-one per cent of hospitals indicated they had made changes to the storage, availability and usage of this medication in the project's first six-month period. Infection Audits In November 2003, in response to problems with the sterilization of medical equipment at two Ontario hospitals, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care directed all hospitals to perform a thorough audit of their systems and processes for infection control. The ministry and the Ontario Hospital Association sent an audit tool to all hospitals to guide the review. In addition, hospitals were directed to immediately notify affected patients and the Ministry of any concerns related to infection control and prevention, including equipment sterilization. Within two months, the ministry received reports from every Ontario hospital confirming they had done a thorough review of their infection control procedures. A rigorous infection control audit will be built into hospitals' ongoing monitoring and reporting to the ministry and the public. Canadian Patient Safety Institute Ontario collaborated with its federal, provincial and territorial partners to establish the Canadian Patient Safety Institute in December 2003. This new institute will provide leadership to build a culture of patient safety throughout the Canadian health care system. It will promote best practices, raise awareness and provide advice on effective strategies to improve patient safety. Supporting Patient Safety Research In 2003, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care provided $480,000 for research exploring nursing's contribution to patient safety. This study is currently underway by the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto.For further information: Members of the media: Eva Lannon, Minister's Office, (416) 327-4320; John Letherby, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, (416) 314-6197 Members of the general public: (416) 327-4327, or (800) 268-1154